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Even the youngest battle cancer

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
April 14, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 13, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.

Amber Ragsdale, 4, pauses for a photo at her home on April 7 with her twin brother Tyler.  Amber was diagnosed with a malignant teratoma tumor in 2009. After surgery and completing chemotherapy in 2010, she is now cancer free.  Amber is one of the 2011 Victoria Country Relay for Life honorees.

Amber Ragsdale giggled as she playfully ran from twin brother Tyler in her Victoria County backyard.

Blonde curls flying, Amber laughed again as the duo, who turned 4 on April 6, continued to play.

But less than two years ago, times weren't quite as cheerful as Amber was diagnosed with cancer.

Amber is one of the six honorees for the 15th annual Victoria County Relay for Life, April 29 at Coleto Creek Park, 365 Coleto Creek Park Road.

It was Amber's demeanor, her mother Kim Ragsdale believes, that helped her get through that battle that started in November 2009.

"Fortunately she was so young, I don't think she understood," Ragsdale said. "She was the best sport about it. She went through everything without crying."

"Everything" included a tumor, discovered after being sent to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston following worsening abdominal pain.

The malignant teratoma, a type of germ cell tumor, in her pelvic area required a nine-hour surgery to remove.

"We were scared, of course. Devastated," said Ragsdale, who along with her husband of nine years Billy Ragsdale also have a third child, Nathan, 6. "After the surgery we felt confident there was none of the tumor left. We felt better knowing it was treatable."

That treatment included three cycles of chemotherapy that started about a month after the surgery. Amber continues to go back to the hospital every few months for a CT scan and blood work.

"The prognosis is excellent," her mother said.

Despite her battle, Amber keeps being Amber.

"She loves to color. She loves to watch cartoons and movies," said her mother. "And she loves to play outside with her brother."

This year, 65 teams are taking part in the relay.

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